Getting to know its individuality and temper.
Photo by Hootan Safiyari on Unsplash
Your mood is intangible, fluctuating, and intense. It appears suddenly and it plays a role in your decisions, your interactions, and your reactions. In other words, everything that makes up your life. How many times have you not felt like working, woken up in a bad mood, or lacked kindness toward your partner, simply because you were seeing the world in grey?
It feels like our mood is just the way it is. That there’s nothing we can do to control it. And that’s true. It’s there. Period.
The thing is, it’s not controllable, but it’s orientable. Provided you know it personally.
What you can control is your circumstances
Circumstances control your mood. But you can control your circumstances. It may be your environment. The atmosphere, conditions, and context in which you find yourself.
I discovered this when I felt depressed while living my dream as a digital nomad. I was excited until I arrived in my hotel room, which was small, cold, and noisy. I didn’t understand what was going on. I thought I was feeling down because I was far away from my comfort zone.
When I changed my circumstances — that is when I went to the front desk and got a change of room — I immediately felt much better. I saw everything in a new light.
I changed my situation. It changed my mood.
Now I know one thing for sure. The place I am in plays a big role in how I feel. Conclusion: I can’t control my mood, but I can control my environment, choose it, which in itself is a way to control my mood. For example, by going to the seaside. I know that it has a calming effect on me, that it makes me feel present, here and now.
I use controllable circumstances to control something that, in principle, is not controllable.
Circumstances can also be related to your five senses
Have you ever felt “hangry”? It’s when you’re so hungry that it starts to make you tense. You can control whether or not you put food in your body, which itself controls your mood. It’s the same process.
Same with music. If I put sad music in my ears, I feel nostalgic. If I put something with a catchy rhythm, like reggaeton, it instantly cheers me up. I know what plays on my mood, so I use it to control it indirectly.
Certain smells, certain sounds, certain sights work the same way.
The trick is to know your mood, personally, deeply, and to know what triggers it, what changes it. Once you know the ingredients, you just have to make the recipe.
You can’t control what’s innate. If you bump your foot on the table leg, it’s going to hurt. There’s nothing you can do about it. What you can do is avoid the table leg.
To know your mood, to play on it, you have to be very attentive to your innate feelings. Be aware of your mood swings. What triggers anger, sadness, loneliness, joy, happiness? Be attentive to common and recurring patterns. Try to spot the one little thing that has changed in your environment and put you in a completely different mood.
The more you pay attention to it, the clearer it will be. The more you know about your mood, the better you’ll know yourself. And the closer you get to your feelings.
It’s not about controlling your emotions. There is no point in trying to control everything. That would be to put yourself in a bubble of insensitivity. Because you can’t choose to feel only positive emotions. You can choose to feel everything or nothing. And everything is both positive and negative. The pleasant as well as the unpleasant.
If you know what makes you sad, you can avoid it. If you know what comforts you, you can focus on getting that result.
It’s all about getting to know yourself. Becoming aware of your inner patterns, your triggers, and your reactions.
And it’s life-changing.